Protecting Buildings From Vehicle-Into-Building Crashes: How and Why

California 2015 AB 764

This week marks a milestone in the issue of vehicle-into-building crashes (otherwise know as storefront crashes). The California State Assembly just passed a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, which provides for consideration for protection of buildings from accidental vehicle incursions at state facilities. This bill also includes two other very significant provisions. One is that the building codes in the state may now include provisions for protection from vehicle-into-building crashes, and the other is that insurance comanies insuring commerical facilities may offer discounts to their insured entities that have put storefront crash protection in place. There are severl states where legislation of this type is pending, but this puts California in the lead when it comes to addressing this risk. 

Why Address Vehicle-into-Building Crashes?

The question of why that operators of commercial, retail, and restaurant (to name a few, there are other categories of at-risk facility as well) should plan to include protection to new facilities and add protection to existing ones now goes beyond the likelihood/severity relationship that is a key to risk assessment (and likely to indicate a need for protection at many of these facilities) and into the realm of direct regulatory compliance, and also into the realm of insurance cost as well. At the very least, any operation with nose-in parking facing a building that is open to the public should evaluate and assess their risks and consider what risk controls are in place and what may be needed.

How Do You Protect Your Storefront?

Very simply, some means of relaibly protecting both the building entrance and interior from vehicles must be sought. There is some discussion about strengthening buildings themselves, versus placing an engineered barrier (such as a bollard) away from the building.